I can honestly say that, deep inside, I haven’t entertained the idea that Rich Rodriguez should be replaced this year. And, as you all know, Meeechigan Dan was routinely consulted by Bill Martin and, quite frankly, is on David Brandon’s speed dial. It’s a heavy responsibility that I shoulder for all of you.
Last year, firing RR occurred to me more than once during the slide because his offensive genius was theoretical. This year, it is fact. In September, I formally acknowledged this genius, and the lack thereof on the other side of the ball. Fortunately, for the rational, there is perspective…
One of my favorite features is This Week in Schadenfreude (TWIS). When any of my teams is winning big games/playoff series, I gluttonously partake in the ‘freude, trolling competitive sites, rarely commenting, but soaking in the complaints about officiating, lucky bounces and questionable coaching decisions like Thomas Covenent in Andelain. Let’s face it, the ‘freude is what it’s all about; it is “Little Brother” and 2-10-1; it is watching damefan1’s videos and was Manningham’s catch against Penn State; it is the coin in which fans are paid for their loyalty.
For schadenfreude to have gravitas, a team must dominate over time. Red Wings schadenfreude is classic example; the spitting hatred of the unwashed directed at a dynasty is a fine wine to be enjoyed. Conversely, is such a thing as Lions schadenfreude even possible? No.
MSU currently enjoys a certain cheap ‘freude, like a bad pool player who pockets the nine ball on a lucky combination; no one with a larger view of the contest expects the less-skilled player’s luck to hold up and his “Nyah, nyah, nyah!” will soon be forgotten, decorum will return, and order restored to the universe. On the other hand, OSU has become a stuffy commodities firm trading in an endless supply of Michigan schadenfreude by the container car, moving it from train depot to seaport to FedEx hub with a certain dry efficiency; all we can think about is that, being first to the buffet table of decade long dominance, we didn’t extract our proper, sustaining share of the ‘freude in the 90s and now it’s gone forever, to be quietly laughed at by any Buckeye fan hearing our plea.
I tip my hat to the author of TWIS for obvious reasons, but Mr. Cook deserves subtle credit for something more: TWIS emphatically argues that RR should be retained.
From the narrow view of a football fanatic, the stupidity of the coaching staff always seems like a reasonable proposition and the coaching change “fix” that is universally talked about in TWIS a GPS-equipped life raft floating off the bow of the Titanic. One fanbase’s coaching complaint appears to be justifiable rage and frustration. Collectively, the sameness of fans’ contempt for coaches that had been formerly praised is bipolar.
Look at the last dozen or so national champions:
Stoops, Meyer, Brown, Miles, Bowden, Fulmer, Carr and even Tressel. I don’t have the dedication to journey back to those championship years and catalog the glowing quotes describing the brilliance of Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops, the seasoned wisdom of Mack Brown and Bobby Bowden, the eclectic genius of Les Miles, but they exist. And while they have yet to lift the ugliest trophy in sports, we’ve all breathlessly heard about rising stars Brian Kelly, Greg Schiano. Mark Richt, Randy Edsall, Jeff Tedford and, yes, Rich Rodriguez. Glowing comments about brilliant coaches at the peak of their skills.
Urban can't be happy and he can't reload the spread option with a prostyle quarterback. He can't go prostyle with an offense built for the spread option with speed backs. He is stuck in a mediocre second tier hybrid offense. If Urban can't fix this, I expect he will leave. Does anyone see a solution for this year or next year?
This year’s performance is not just the worst job of coaching we have seen in the Mack Brown era, it is without any real question at all one of the very worst coaching jobs in modern football history. I can’t think of a single instance in which any coaching staff has done less with more talent or inherent program advantages than this staff has accomplished this season.
A combo here!
Is Les Miles a better college football coach than Bobn Stoops?
When Bob looks into the mirror tonight, he will see a glimpse of someone who quit
I hate you, Brian Kelly. I hate your fucking lesbian golfer visor. I hate your fucking offense that looks like Oregon’s offense on quaaludes and holds the ball for 2.5 minutes a game. I hate your fucking Dance of the Backup Quarterbacks playcalling system. I hate your fucking Baaaaaahston accent as you blame the players and get high on the smell of your own fucking farts.
(All quotes above taken from the TWIS weekly column.)
And more. From 30,000 feet, I gaze upon the sameness of serious football fans suggesting that once brilliant men have lost that brilliance and become Gerry Faust overnight. William of Occam might suggest that, if a successful coach remains the same and the players change, it’s the players that are responsible for the change in fortunes. Particularly when great players are replaced by young or less talented players.
About mid season, TWIS was a slap in the face for me, a realization that definitely proven coaching commodities do not become dumb overnight. Yes, perhaps there are structural reasons for hard times (the game passing you by [Bowden, Carr], personal issues [maybe Meyer], selecting bad DCs [RR], etc.) and those are fair game; RR’s fate ultimately hangs on his management of the defense, which is, I hope for my mgopoint total, ironic. But RR was a proven coach at WVU authoring one of the most revolutionary performances against Oklahoma, and he has duplicated that offensive success under duress at Michigan. Yes, his decision-making on defense concerns every one of us, but he is responsible for Jeff Casteel (not vise versa), and should have another two years to figure that out.
Gotta go. Brandon is calling.
[Ed-M: bumped from diary - MGoBlog's recruiting editor updates the status of defensive recruitment]
Since Justice Hayes just committed, and there were still people looking around to see if it was ok to ask if he plays defense, I thought I would help them out. Here's a look at who's left on the defensive front for Michigan recruiting.
First, who's committed so far:
|Brennen Beyer||DE||6'4", 225 lbs.||4 Star|
|Demetrius Hart||RB||5'8", 190 lbs.||4 Star|
|Justice Hayes||RB/Slot||5'10", 175 lbs.||4 Star|
|Dallas Crawford||DB||5'10", 185 lbs.||3 Star|
|Shawn Conway||WR||6'4", 183 lbs.||3 Star|
|Greg Brown||DB||5'10", 180 lbs.||3 Star|
|Jake Fisher||OL||6'7", 260 lbs.||3 Star|
|Delonte Hollowell||DB||5'8", 162 lbs.||3 Star|
|Kellen Jones||LB||6'1", 209 lbs.||3 Star|
|Jack Miller||OL||6'4", 270 lbs.||3 Star|
|Tony Posada||OL||6'5", 315 lbs.||3 Star|
|Chris Rock||DE/DT||6'5", 250 lbs.||3 Star|
|Kevin Sousa||QB||6'2", 220 lbs.||3 Star|
For those counting at home, that's six commitments out of thirteen that are on the defensive side of the ball. There are around 9 spots left, give or take, for Michigan to fill up this class with. These are the current defensive recruits that Michigan has a shot with.
6'4", 255 lbs.
West Branch, MI
|4 Stars||Junior Highlights|
|Zettel is waiting until after the season is over to make his announcement. He has already taken his official to Iowa (Nov. 20th), he's visiting Penn State this weekend, and will be at Michigan on December 10th for the Big Chill.|
6'5", 230 lbs.
|Philadelphia, PA||4 star||Deion Runs Fast|
|Barnes has Michigan in his top five along with Georgia, Penn State, Pitt, and South Carolina. He has mentioned several times he plans on visiting after the season. He may visit for December 10th as well.|
2011 Defensive Tackle Prospects
6'2", 275 lbs.
Lake City, FL
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|Jernigan has Michigan in his top group with LSU, Alabama, and Florida State. He has made some recent trips to Florida, so I wouldn't count them out. I've been hearing a lot lately about Timmy, and a recruit actually told me that Jernigan really likes Michigan. He's concerned with our defensive scheme, however, so we'll see what happens.|
6'3", 275 lbs.
|Hyattsville, MD||4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|Cooper is planning a winter visit to Michigan, and outside of Jernigan, is probably Michigan's best option at defensive tackle. His season ended in the WCAC championship game this weekend, so he's now focusing on recruiting.|
6'1", 310 lbs.
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|While Johnson continues to list Michigan in his top group, I don't think he'll end up choosing the Wolverines. His name is still on the radar, but not likely.|
6'3", 210 lbs.
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|As everyone knows, Frost just got back from his official visit to Michigan. This visit came at the perfect time for Frost, and for Michigan. He will take officials to LSU and Cal, and is going to try to make it back up to Michigan again before deciding at the US Army game. Frost will be an early enrollee. I included him here for argument sake, since he is also being recruited for receiver.|
6'1", 225 lbs.
|Holland, MI||3 Star||Senior Highlights|
|Morgan is a lifelong Michigan fan, and was beyond excited to receive his offer. He took an unofficial visit with his dad to the Illinois game, and will be back for an official visit on December 10th. He's taking his time, but I expect him to be in this class. If Michigan grabs Morgan and Frost, that will be a nice linebacker haul for the 2011 class with Kellen Jones already on board.|
5'10", 170 lbs.
Owings Mills, MD
|4 Star||Senior Highlights|
|Countess has a top four of Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State and Michigan. It's been rumored that Michigan is in the lead, but Georgia Tech might be right there with them. Countess plans on visiting December 3rd, and will also be playing in the US Army game.|
6'1", 170 lbs.
|Houma, LA||3 Star||N/A|
|If Michigan missed on Countess, they may finally offer Kitchen. Kitchen has said he's a big fan of Michigan, and would most likely commit if offered.|
5'11", 185 lbs.
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|Walls has already been to Michigan several times, including an official visit for the U Conn game. He has since taken visits to Oregon and Cal. I still think Michigan is in a good position, but I think Oregon has made a good impression on him. Due to an illness in his family he had put recruiting on the back burner. He still plans on taking a few more visits before he announces.|
6'0", 190 lbs.
|Ft. Lauderdale, FL||4 Star||Senior Highlights|
|Lyons recently announced that Michigan will get one of his official visits. That was huge news for the Wolverines, as they seem to be climbing up his list. Wayne plans on being up at Michigan on December 3rd, and then out to Nebraska on December 10th. He has already taken visits to Notre Dame, Stanford, and UCLA. Michigan is making a move with the talented safety.|
6'2", 210 lbs.
|5 Star||2010 Spring Game|
|I'm including Karlos on this list because he still maintains that he will visit Michigan. The visit will probably take place in January. I've heard that it's not likely he will switch from FSU, but there's at least a small chance. He has been recruiting hard for FSU, so don't get your hopes up, but who knows what could happen with a visit.|
6'2", 190 lbs.
|5 Star||Junior Highlights|
I'm including Ha'Sean for the same reason that I'm including Karlos, he still plans on visiting Michigan. I have heard that there's a small chance that he changes his mind from Alabama. Don't get your hopes up here either, but with his teammates selling Michigan and his visit you never know.
Michigan obviously doesn't have enough room to take everyone, and they're still looking for a few more offensive positions like tight end and offensive line. Most of the decision time tables for these recruits are after the season, or during the Army All American game. That should give Michigan plenty of time for visits, and a little extra push with coaching visits too.
“I find that I don't care about Ohio State at all.” (Brian Cook, 11/23/2010)
Has it come to this? That during this week, the week of Thanksgiving and our unity against the common foe of That Team Down South, our esteemed leader can’t bring himself to care about Ohio State?
Cannibalism may be fun for the short term, but in isolation it’s not a viable long-term survival strategy. To repeat the already-repeated obvious – everyone wants Michigan football to be good on the field, good in the classroom, and good in society. That’s the end, upon which we all agree (though likely with different views on the appropriate mix of those three factors). What we can’t agree on is the most effective means to that end.
All this shouting has become tiresome, and it seems like the site has become a perverse echo chamber. Rodriguez has improved in wins every year… he lacks ‘quality’ wins. The offense has improved… the defense has worsened. The cupboard was bare…the pantry was emptied. Inexperience has been exploited and will improve…experienced bad players are still bad players. The coaches demand the most out of the players… the coaches can’t get the most out of the players. It’s GERG’s fault… it’s the guy who hired GERG’s fault. New blood was needed…the old way worked.
One thing we can learn from economics – when there’s only one dimension to consider, there’s generally an optimal position to maximize total happiness (or utility, or whatever). Imagine a single ice cream stand on a beach full of sunbathers – the optimal location of the ice cream stand is the one that minimizes the total distance that the sunbathers have to walk. But when we start adding multiple dimensions – younger customers are willing to walk further, the demand varies by the weather, some customers will walk further for certain flavors but not for others, there’s an Italian ice stand as well, customers have different amounts they can pay, some ingredients are more costly than others, and you have to pay rent for the beach space, etc. – there no longer is a clear optimum. Furthermore, there’s no mathematical solution – you can only simulate and try to find optima.
We’re at the point where there’s no math, no hard and fast truth, that clearly states the right course of action for the program. We are all finding our local optima and arguing from that point. Sure, some points aren’t actually optimal, but there’s so many of points of discussion that it becomes impossible to determine the truth. (Note: Brian, a comp sci guy, would argue that with enough data processing power the truth can be discerned from all but the most random of data points – but we’re not supercomputers).
What’s the way out of this mess? The Founding Fathers had it figured out – representation. We are, collectively, the muddled masses with a multitude of conflicting, confusing opinions. And so we need a representative to sort it all out. In this case our representative wasn’t elected; he was chosen, but he’s ours nevertheless. And while David Brandon may have some flaws, it’s hard to argue that there’s anyone in the world better suited to be Michigan’s Athletic Director. And it’s his call. Will he make the ‘right’ decision? I don’t know. I do know he’ll make the best decision he can, and he’s the best person to make that decision, and what more can you ask for?
So that’s how I’ve learned to stop worrying and love the pimp (hand). I hope that MGoBlog can remain the blog for many Michigan fans, one that educates, informs, considers, and most importantly has fun in the process. Fight amongst yourselves if you must, but remember that we ALL agree on the end, and it’s OK to disagree on the means. Remember that all but the lamest of arguments have some good points to consider. And remember that if your side ‘loses’, suck it up and move on. Besides, we always have women’s softball. Or is there a firecarolhutchins.com site?
Here's this week's update to The Michigan Difference, updated with stats from this week's games.
Another bipolar game against Wisconsin. The final offensive output was pretty good, but the defense couldn't stand up to their rushing attack. We remain #5 in Total Offense (TO) and are now #112 in Total Defense (TD).
Disclaimer: The NCAA stats are not linear, of course, and a difference of 1 yd/gm can be a large or small difference in rankings depending on how closely spaced everyone is. So as I cautioned, this isn't a hard-core statistical exercise. This analysis is pretty one-dimensional because it's long and complicated enough as it is.
I think the greatest value in this is to look back at the early games and see how well we did in comparison to what other teams ended up doing against them - what seemed like a good or bad performance at the time may look different in retrospect.
Part the First: Offense
We know our offense is great, but what kind of damage has it done to the Total Defense (TD) ratings of our opponents? Here they are thus far:
|Opponent||Games||Yards Yielded||Yds/gm||NCAA Rank|
What would these guys' defensive stats look like if they hadn't played Michigan?
|Opponent||Total Offense, M||
Opp. Avg - M,
M Total Offense,
*Opponents' average Total Defense yards per game, minus the Michigan game
**Michigan's Total Offense in game as a % of the opponent's average TD minus the Michigan game
Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin's defenses really wish they hadn't played us. They'd be in the top 20 nationally but for one game. Michigan has gained above our opponents' average yardage yielded in every game thus far, and their Total Defense rankings have suffered as a result. What's the damage?
|Opponent||TD Rank With M||TD Rank Without M||Difference|
Average change in Total Defense ranking for all opponents: -10.1 places.
Looking at the offensive performance versus the quality of the defense:
There is little correlation between Michigan's Total Offense for a game and their opponent's average Total Defense (minus M). Whatever is limiting our offense's output in a game, it is not directly related to the number of yards the opponent usually gives up. This would suggest that the offense tends to be limited by itself, rather than the opponent.
Part the Second, Defense
So the flipside of this, then, is how much has our defensive suckitude helped out our opponents stat sheet? Where would they rank in Total Offense without having played us? We'll run the same tables again, but from the opposite tack:
|Opponent||Games||Yards Gained||Yds/gm||NCAA Rank|
Wisconsin is easily the strongest offensive team we've faced thus far. The results of the game show that. MSU was pretty good, the rest varying degrees of average to bad.
|Total Defense, M||
Opp. Avg - M,
Opp Total Offense,
% of Opp Avg - M**
* Opponents' average Total Offensive performance, minus the Michigan game
** Opponents' Total Offense as a percentage of their average offensive performance, minus the Michigan game
Here's a nifty graph of our opponents' Total Offense against Michigan, versus their average Total Offense per game without the Michigan game:
In this case, we do have a reasonably good correlation. Our defense does worse against better offenses. That would suggest that we're talent-limited somewhere (either coaches or players) and the opponents' offenses tend to have their way with us. In other words, our defense doesn't shut anybody down. The more yards our opponents average per game, the better they'll do against us.
|Opponent||TO Rank With M||TO Rank Without M||Difference|
Average boost to opponents' Total Offense NCAA ranking: +5.9 places
From this perspective, the Wisconsin game was our 4th worst defensive performance of the year. As bad as we looked, three other games were worse. We were up against a very good offense, and it showed.
Part the Third: Summary
Michigan's O Difference
on Opp TD Ranking
Michigan's D Difference
on Opp TO Ranking
|Connecticut||-12||+1||W: Good O, OK D|
|Notre Dame||-15||+11||W: Good O, Terrible D|
|Bowling Green||-20||0||W: Awesome O, OK D|
|Indiana||-8||+14||W: Good O, Terrible D|
|Michigan State||-1||+10||L: OK O, Terrible D|
|Iowa||-8||0||L: Good O, OK D|
|Penn State||-4||+6||L:Good O, Bad D|
|Illinois||-22||+9||W:, Awesome O, Terrible D|
|Purdue||-1||--1||W: OK O, OK D|
|Wisconsin||-10||+9||L: Good O, Terrible D|
In subtly maize-and-blue graphical form:
New observations for this week:
Many of our previous opponents had good weeks offensively, making our defense look a bit
betterless bad in those previous games.
- Wisconsin is easily the best team we've faced yet. Offensive and defensive performances were close to mid-pack, but we got our butts kicked.
- Our offense remains impressive and will keep getting better.
- Our defense is terrible and had better get a lot better.
- Winning is still a lot more fun than losing.
In the comments section of the Wisconsin edition of my Almanack of Broken Records, Comrades Raoul and BigHouseInmate pointed out that Denard may have broken the single-season Michigan record for all-purpose touchdowns with 30 (16 passing, 14 rushing). Michigan does not actually track this particular statistic; instead, M tracks touchdowns scored (i.e., who actually carried the ball into the endzone). That record is held by Al Herrnstein, who scored 26 touchdowns in 1902.
So I had to go back and look at individual season statistics to compile the data. I actually went through the game-by-game accounts of the 1901-1905 seasons from the Michigan Alumnus in order to get accurate information about touchdown statistics in the Fielding Yost Point-A-Minute era, and reviewed old NCAA research on pre-1937 touchdown statistics. It's possible that there are other pre-WWII players that I've missed.
According to the stats I've been able to find, Robinson is indeed out front with 30 all-purpose touchdowns. On a per-game basis, Denard at 2.73 per game is second only to Tom Harmon, who scored 23 touchdowns (including a kickoff return and an interception return) over 8 games in 1940, for an average of 2.88.
It is unusual to be able to compile all-time records for a particular category, because modern football statistics only really came into being in the 1940s. But TDs and scoring are two of the few categories that we can measure from the pre-modern era, making Denard's achievement all the more impressive.
Here is the table, sorted by touchdowns per game, with a cutoff of 1.60. Remarkably, the 1901 team had three separate players score at that pace:
|Name||Yr.||Pass TD||Rush TD||Rec TD||Kick TD||Int TD||TD||G||TD/G|
|Tom Harmon, LHB||1940||7||14||0||1||1||23||8||2.88|
|Denard Robinson, QB||2010||16||14||0||0||0||30||11||2.73|
|Tom Harmon, RHB||1939||6||13||0||0||1||20||8||2.50|
|Rick Leach, QB||1978||17||12||0||0||0||29||12||2.42|
|Al Herrnstein, RHB||1902||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||26||11||2.36|
|Steve Smith, QB||1981||15||12||0||0||0||27||12||2.25|
|Chad Henne, QB||2004||25||2||0||0||0||27||12||2.25|
|Willie Heston, LHB||1904||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||20||9||2.22|
|Drew Henson, QB||2000||18||2||0||0||0||20||9||2.22|
|Ron Johnson, RHB||1968||0||19||0||0||0||19||9||2.11|
|Steve Smith, QB||1983||13||10||0||0||0||23||11||2.09|
|Elvis Grbac, QB||1991||25||0||0||0||0||25||12||2.08|
|Chad Henne, QB||2005||23||1||0||0||0||24||12||2.00|
|John Navarre, QB||2003||24||0||1||0||0||25||13||1.92|
|Rick Leach, QB||1976||13||10||0||0||0||23||12||1.92|
|Steve Smith, QB||1982||14||9||0||0||0||23||12||1.92|
|Desmond Howard, SE||1991||0||2||19||2||0||23||12||1.92|
|Willie Heston, LHB||1901||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||20||11||1.82|
|Bob Chappuis, LHB||1947||15||5||0||0||0||20||11||1.82|
|John Navarre, QB||2002||21||2||0||0||0||23||13||1.77|
|Elvis Grbac, QB||1990||21||0||0||0||0||21||12||1.75|
|Tom Brady, QB||1999||20||1||0||0||0||21||12||1.75|
|Neil Snow, FB||1901||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||19||11||1.73|
|Bruce Shorts, RT||1901||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||17||10||1.70|
|Chad Henne, QB||2006||22||0||0||0||0||22||13||1.69|
|Willie Heston, LHB||1902||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||15||9||1.67|
(EDIT: I added Bob Chappuis' 1947, Ron Johnson's 1968, and Bruce Shorts' 1901 seasons to the list, and added the offensive positions that each player filled. Note that Shorts scored 17 TDs as an offensive lineman: now those were the days!)
The NCAA FBS (I-A) single-season record is 63 touchdowns, by Colt Brennan of Hawaii in 2006 (58 passing, 5 rushing). The per-game record is 5.0 in 1990, by David Klingler of Houston (55 TDs in 11 games).
The FBS single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback is 27, by Ricky Dobbs of Navy in 2009 (in 14 games). The season record for most touchdowns scored (i.e., excluding TD passes thrown) is 39, by Barry Sanders in 1988 over 11 games.
Tim Tebow is the only player to have both thrown and run for 20 touchdowns: in 2007, he threw for 32 and ran for 23. (Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan threw for 27, ran for 19, and caught 1 in 2007.) Cameron Newton may join this 20/20 club in 2010; he has thrown for 21 TDs and run for 17, with three games left.
The Michigan career record for most touchdowns scored is held by Yost-era legend Willie Heston, with 69 from 1901-1904 (the Michigan record book lists Heston at 72 TDs, which is incorrect according to my game-by-game tally). The record for most all-purpose touchdowns is held by Chad Henne, who threw for 87 and ran for 3 (for a total of 90) from 2004-2007. If Denard plays through his senior season, there is a realistic chance that he could break Henne's record. (EDIT: I changed this from the previous version, which incorrectly cited Heston as the all-purpose career leader.)
Here is the team photo of the all-time great team of 1901, courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library. Al Herrnstein is the right-most player in the front row. Neil Snow is the second from the left in the middle row. Willie Heston is right-most in the middle row. Fielding Yost is in the center of the back row. The "501-0" football that captain Hugh White is holding reflects the fact that this picture was taken before the team beat Stanford 49-0 in the inaugural Rose Bowl game of 1902. The lopsided score so disappointed Rose Bowl officials that they didn't hold a second Rose Bowl game until 1916.
I saw reference to DB mentioning that the BB team needs new facilities. It has been a thought rattling in my empty head for years -- it seemed to me that both MSU and OSU became much more competitive after Breslin and Value City opened. Crisler is an anvil, sinking the ability of either or men's or women's BB teams to get competitive, because we play in a total dump.
Not that you have to have a good facility to have a good BB team. Howevah -- looking at our competitors in the conference, it seems logical to me that, if we want to compete annually with MSU and OSU and IU and UI etc., we can't be in a gym that looks like a parking garage, at night, in the worst part of town (or, in Columbus), compared to the fancy, bright gyms.
Statistics bear me out....
Breslin Center opened in 1989. Here are the Men's BB team records (ovearll / Big Ten), before and after Breslin opened:
MSU Men's BB
1982-83 17-13 / 9-9
1983-84 16-12 / 9-9
1984-85 19-10 / 10-8
1985-86 23-8 / 12-6
1986-87 11-17 / 6-12
1987-88 10-18 / 5-13
1988-89 18-15 / 6-12
1989-90 28-6 / 15-3
1990-91 19-11 / 11-7
1991-92 22-8 / 11-7
1992-93 15-13 / 7-11
1993-94 20-12 / 10-8
1994-95 22-6 / 14-4
Seems to me, that's a stastical bump turning on the year Breslin opened. It's a pretty good control too, because Jud was the coach of all of those teams. Izzo took over sometime after 1994-95 season.
I looked at the women's team too, but except for a very short bump a couple years after Breslin opened, not quite the same trend:
MSU Women's BB
1982-83 11-16 / 7-11
1983-84 18-10 / 10-8
1984-85 11-16 / 4-14
1985-86 15-12 / 9-9
1986-87 16-12 / 8-10
1987-88 16-12 / 12-6
1988-89 15-13 / 9-9
1989-90 11-17 / 7-11
1990-91 21-8 / 13-5
1991-92 14-14 / 8-10
1992-93 10-17 / 6-12
1993-94 12-15 / 7-11
1994-95 16-12 / 8-8
Value City Arena opened in the 1997-1998 season. There is a DEFINITE bump in the record, but there is another factor affecting it too:
OSU Men's BB
1992-93 15-13 / 8-10
1993-94 13-16 / 6-12
1994-95 6-22 / 2-16
1995-96 10-17 / 3-15
1996-97 10-17 / 5-13
1997-98 8-22 / 1-15
1998-99 27-9 / 11-4
1999-00 22-7 / 13-3
2000-01 20-11 / 11-6
2001-02 24-8 / 12-5
2002-03 17-15 / 7-9
2003-04 14-16 / 6-10
That is unquestionably a big jump in record when moving to the new arena. But there is another factor too -- Randy Ayers coached those before-VCA teams, and Jim O'Brien coached the first seven teams in VCA. (Officially, OSU lost all of those games, but you know, C-Web -- HATE HIM -- wasn't there to not call a timeout we wouldn't have had if we were in that game, which officially we weren't in.)
The OSU women's hoop's team didn't quite get exactly the same bump immediately:
OSU Women's BB
1992-93 28-4 / 16-2
1993-94 14-14 / 7-11
1994-95 17-13 / 7-9
1995-96 21-13 / 8-8
1996-97 12-16 / 3-13
1997-98 15-12 / 7-9
1998-99 17-12 / 9-7
1999-00 13-15 / 5-11
2000-01 22-11 / 5-11
2001-02 18-11 / 6-10
2002-03 14-15 / 8-8
2003-04 22-10 / 10-6
2004-05 21-10 / 11-5
2005-06 30-5 / 14-2
The OSU hockey team got a MAJOR bump in performance by moving to VCA. They made the NCAA for the first time in the season they moved into VCA (1997-98). They have been to the NCAA several times since then. I think you could legitimately argue, OSU hockey got on the map only by moving into VCA. (Not to say Yost is hurting UM, cuz, obviously, it isn't.)
Upshot for UM
VCA cost like, what, $255M? UM just spent that on the upgraded football digs, I don't think DB is thinking of plowing another quarter-billion into a new basketball facility.
HOWEVER... we just have to face facts here, as long as we play in a dump, we can't really expect to get the best recruits -- whomever is the coach. Getting the new digs clearly seems to have an impact on getting in good recruits, as MSU's and OSU's experiences show.
If the U won't replace Crisler (or so significantly upgrade it that it LOOKS brand new), I don't think we can realistically expect to build a national contender on the men's side, given the teams against whom we recruit. It doesn't appear that a new arena is a guarantee for success on the women's team, however.